David Rosen
Little Free Libraries, like this one on Holden Street, are popping up around West Seattle. They are part of an international literacy movement that began literally in the front yard of Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wisconsin. Only a few are up in West Seattle now but thousands are being installed around the world. The founders estimate more than 12,000 are up and lending in more than 30 countries.

Little Free Libraries popping up around West Seattle

Though there are only a few in West Seattle proper you may have noticed on Holden Street or Monroe Street the appearance of what look like tiny houses on posts or fences. These are not for birds. They mark the West Seattle arrival of what is now an international project called Little Free Library. The idea is to extend literacy through the placement of a tiny free lending library of free books in neighborhoods everywhere.

More than twelve thousand Little Free Libraries now exist around the world, in every state and more than thirty countries and thousands more are being built.

The idea came from Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009 as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher. Bol built one, put it up outside his home with a Free Books sign which led to him building more for neighbors and friends. Rick Brooks, who was promoting environmental issues became a colleague and began to promote the idea beyond their local area.

They wanted to build 2510 libraries to match the number built by 19th century industrialist Andrew Carnegie (he built the Seattle Public Library in the Admiral District). Media picked up their story and by the end of 2011 close to 400 Little Free Libraries had been built. The following year they became a non-profit organization and the idea kept gathering momentum.

Looking over the organization's website shows that the project really has become a movement.
Each library has a steward and the site is loaded with resources to help you not only build one (and advice about it) but labels, brochures, and more.

You'll find other Little Free Libraries at:
3205 38th S.W.
6548 25th S.W.
9220 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
11052 19th Avenue S.W.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.